Aitan Goelman, CFTC
"Protecting the integrity and stability of the U.S. futures markets is critical to ensuring a properly functioning financial system."
Washington, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Heet Khara and Nasim Salim, residents of the United Arab Emirates. According to the CFTC's Complaint, Defendants engaged in unlawful disruptive trading practices known as "spoofing" in the gold and silver futures markets by placing bids and offers with the intent to cancel them before execution.
Based on Defendants' pattern of unlawful spoofing conduct and the potential for dissipation of Defendants' assets, on May 5, 2015, U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts issued an Order freezing and preserving assets under Defendants' control and prohibiting them from destroying documents or denying CFTC staff access to their books and records. The court scheduled a hearing on the CFTC's motion for a preliminary injunction for May 19, 2015.
The Complaint alleges that between at least February 2015 and at least April 28, 2015, Defendants Khara and Salim, both individually and in a coordinated fashion, regularly placed larger aggregate orders for gold and silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX) opposite smaller orders and cancelled the larger orders after the smaller orders were executed.
CME Group Inc.'s (CME Group) Market Regulation Department identified the disruptive trading practices and initiated an investigation. On or about April 30, 2015, CME Group issued notices summarily denying Defendants Khara and Salim's access to all CME Group markets and any trading platforms owned or controlled by CME Group. CME Group Inc. operates four self-regulatory organizations and designated contract markets, which are the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc., New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc., and COMEX.
CFTC Director of Enforcement Aitan Goelman commented: "Protecting the integrity and stability of the U.S. futures markets is critical to ensuring a properly functioning financial system. Aggressive prosecution of spoofing is an important part of that mission. Today's actions make clear that the CFTC will partner with self-regulatory organizations to find and swiftly prosecute those who engage in such disruptive trading practices, wherever they may be."
In its ongoing litigation, the CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, civil monetary penalties, and equitable relief including trading and registration bans and disgorgement.
The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the CME Group in this matter.
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this matter are Patryk J. Chudy, David Oakland, Neel Chopra, Katie Rasor, Trevor Kokal, Lenel Hickson, and Manal Sultan.